Grammy Award for Song of the Year

Last updated

Grammy Award for Song of the Year
Awarded forQuality song containing both lyrics and melody
CountryUnited States
Presented by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded1959
Currently held by Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas - "I Can't Breathe" (2021)
Website grammy.com

The Grammy Award for Song of the Year is an honor presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards. [1] The Song of the Year award is one of the four most prestigious categories at the awards (alongside Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Album of the Year), presented annually since the 1st Grammy Awards in 1959. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is presented:

Contents

to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position. [2]

If a winning song contains samples or interpolations of existing material, the publisher and songwriter(s) of the original song(s) can apply for a Winners Certificate. [3]

Song of the Year is related to but is conceptually different from Record of the Year or Album of the Year:

History and description

The Song of the Year awards have been awarded since 1959. [4] It is one of the four most prestigious Grammy Awards. Despite both the Record of the Year award and Song of the Year being awarded for a single or for one track from an album, this award goes only to the composer(s) of the song whereas the Record of the Year award goes to the performer and production team of the song. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is given to the songwriter(s) of a song that "must contain melody and lyrics and must be either a new song or a song first achieving prominence during the eligibility year. Songs containing prominent samples or interpolations are not eligible". [5]

Since the late 1960s other songwriter's awards have been presented for genre-specific categories, including Grammy Award for Best Country Song (since 1965), Grammy Award for Best R&B Song (since 1969), Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media (since 1988), Grammy Award for Best Rock Song (since 1992), and most recently Grammy Award for Best Rap Song (since 2004), Grammy Award for Best Gospel Song (from 2006 to 2014), Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song (from 2012 to 2014), Grammy Award for Best American Roots Song (since 2014), Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance/Song (since 2015), and Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song (since 2015).

The category was expanded to include eight nominees in 2019. [6]

Achievements

In many cases, the songwriters were also the performers (Domenico Modugno, Henry Mancini, John Lennon & Paul McCartney, Joe South, Paul Simon, Carole King, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Sting, Michael Jackson & Lionel Richie, Bobby McFerrin, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Seal, Shawn Colvin, Rob Thomas, U2, Alicia Keys, Luther Vandross, John Mayer, Dixie Chicks, Amy Winehouse, Coldplay, Beyoncé, Lady Antebellum, Adele, Fun, Lorde, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino, Billie Eilish, and H.E.R.).

Multiple winners in this category include Henry Mancini ("Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses"); Johnny Mercer ("Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses"); James Horner ("Somewhere Out There" and "My Heart Will Go On"); Will Jennings ("Tears in Heaven" and "My Heart Will Go On"); U2 ("Beautiful Day" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"); and Adele ("Rolling in the Deep" and "Hello"), winning two times each. [7] However, songs written for Andy Williams, Roberta Flack, Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler have received this award twice.

Paul McCartney and Lionel Richie have the most Song of the Year nominations amongst songwriters with six each. Both won once, McCartney for "Michelle" and Richie for "We Are the World". [8] With five nominations, Taylor Swift is the most nominated female songwriter in the history of the award, although she has not won it yet.

The first woman to win the award was Carole King in 1972, for "You've Got a Friend". [9] Adele was the first female songwriter to win the award twice, winning for "Rolling in the Deep" and "Hello". [10]

Lorde is the youngest songwriter to win in the category, winning for "Royals" in 2014 at the age of 17.

Irving Gordon is the oldest songwriter to win the award,winning for “Unforgettable” in 1992 at age 77.

Christopher Cross and Billie Eilish are the only artists to receive the Grammys for Song of the Year as well as Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist in a single ceremony. Adele was the first artist to win the award for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist from separate occasions, and first woman to accomplish this feat. Only six artists have won the Song of the Year and Best New Artist awards the same year: Christopher Cross ("Sailing", 1981), Alicia Keys ("Fallin'", 2002), Amy Winehouse ("Rehab", 2008), Fun ("We Are Young", 2013), Sam Smith ("Stay with Me (Darkchild Version)", 2015) and Billie Eilish ("Bad Guy", 2020); Marvin Hamlisch is the only composer to win the Song of the Year and Best New Artist awards the same year in 1975, for "The Way We Were".

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Lionel Richie and Diane Warren are the only songwriters to receive three consecutive nominations for Song of the Year.

The song "Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)", winner in 1959, written by Domenico Modugno and performed in Italian, is the only foreign-language song to win this award, [11] although the 1967 winner "Michelle" penned by Lennon–McCartney for The Beatles to perform, has a critical part of its lyrics in French. [12]

The Ernest Gold's song "Theme of Exodus", which won in 1961, is the only instrumental song to ever receive this award. [13]

The first and only tie in this category in Grammy history took place in 1978, when both Barbra Streisand's & Paul Williams' "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" and Joe Brooks' "You Light Up My Life" win the award. [14]

The first time in Grammy history that two different songs with the same title have been nominated in this category happened with "Hello" written by Lionel Richie in 1985 and "Hello" by Adele & Greg Kurstin in 2017. [15]

Since creation of this category, no songwriter has won Song of the Year twice in a row.

Thirty-two of the winning songs have also won the award for Record of the Year.

Process

Members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences nominate their choices for song of the year. A list of the top twenty records is given to the Nominations Review Committee, a specially selected group of anonymous members, who then select the top eight records to gain a nomination in the category in a special ballot. [16] The rest of the members then vote a winner from the five nominees. [17] In 2018, it was announced the number of nominated tracks will be increased to eight. [18]

Recipients

An asterisk (*) indicates this recording also won Record of the Year.
Year [I] Winner(s)NationalityWorkPerforming artist(s) [II] NomineesRef.
1959 Domenico Modugno Flag of Italy.svg Italy"Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)" * Domenico Modugno
[19]
1960 Jimmy Driftwood Flag of the United States.svg United States"The Battle of New Orleans" Johnny Horton
[20]
1961 Ernest Gold Flag of the United States.svg United States
Flag of Austria.svg Austria
"Theme of Exodus"Instrumental
(Various Artists)
[21]
1962 Henry Mancini
Johnny Mercer
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Moon River" * Henry Mancini [22]
1963 Leslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"What Kind of Fool Am I?" Sammy Davis Jr. [23]
1964 Henry Mancini
Johnny Mercer
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Days of Wine and Roses" * Henry Mancini
[24]
1965 Jerry Herman Flag of the United States.svg United States"Hello, Dolly!" Louis Armstrong [25]
1966 Paul Francis Webster
Johnny Mandel
Flag of the United States.svg United States"The Shadow of Your Smile" Tony Bennett [26]
1967 John Lennon
Paul McCartney
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"Michelle" The Beatles [27]
1968 Jimmy Webb Flag of the United States.svg United States"Up, Up, and Away" * The 5th Dimension [28]
1969 Bobby Russell Flag of the United States.svg United States"Little Green Apples" O. C. Smith [29]
1970 Joe South Flag of the United States.svg United States"Games People Play" Joe South [30]
1971 Paul Simon Flag of the United States.svg United States"Bridge over Troubled Water" * Simon & Garfunkel [31]
1972 Carole King Flag of the United States.svg United States"You've Got a Friend" James Taylor & Carole King [32]
1973 Ewan MacColl Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" * Roberta Flack [33]
1974 Norman Gimbel
Charles Fox
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Killing Me Softly with His Song" * Roberta Flack [34]
1975 Alan and Marilyn Bergman
Marvin Hamlisch
Flag of the United States.svg United States"The Way We Were" Barbra Streisand [35]
1976 Stephen Sondheim Flag of the United States.svg United States"Send in the Clowns" Judy Collins [36]
1977 Bruce Johnston Flag of the United States.svg United States"I Write the Songs" Barry Manilow [37]
1978 Barbra Streisand
Paul Williams
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" Barbra Streisand [38]
Joe Brooks "You Light Up My Life" Debby Boone
1979 Billy Joel Flag of the United States.svg United States"Just the Way You Are" * Billy Joel [39]
1980 Kenny Loggins
Michael McDonald
Flag of the United States.svg United States"What a Fool Believes" * The Doobie Brothers [40]
1981 Christopher Cross Flag of the United States.svg United States"Sailing" * Christopher Cross [41]
1982 Donna Weiss
Jackie DeShannon
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Bette Davis Eyes" * Kim Carnes [42]
1983 Johnny Christopher
Mark James
Wayne Carson
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Always on My Mind" Willie Nelson [43]
1984 Sting Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"Every Breath You Take" The Police [44]
1985 Graham Lyle
Terry Britten
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia
"What's Love Got to Do with It" * Tina Turner [45]
1986 Michael Jackson
Lionel Richie
Flag of the United States.svg United States"We Are the World" *USA for Africa [46]
1987 Burt Bacharach
Carole Bayer Sager
Flag of the United States.svg United States"That's What Friends Are For" Dionne Warwick & Friends (Elton John, Gladys Knight & Stevie Wonder) [47]
1988 James Horner
Barry Mann
Cynthia Weil
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Somewhere Out There" Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram [48]
1989 Bobby McFerrin Flag of the United States.svg United States"Don't Worry, Be Happy" * Bobby McFerrin [49]
1990 Larry Henley
Jeff Silbar
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Wind Beneath My Wings" * Bette Midler [50]
1991 Julie Gold Flag of the United States.svg United States"From a Distance" Bette Midler [51]
1992 Irving Gordon Flag of the United States.svg United States"Unforgettable" * Natalie Cole (With Nat King Cole) [52]
1993 Eric Clapton
Will Jennings
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Flag of the United States.svg United States
"Tears in Heaven" * Eric Clapton [53]
1994 Alan Menken
Tim Rice
Flag of the United States.svg United States
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
"A Whole New World" Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle [54]
1995 Bruce Springsteen Flag of the United States.svg United States"Streets of Philadelphia" Bruce Springsteen [55]
1996 Seal Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"Kiss from a Rose" * Seal [56]
1997 Gordon Kennedy
Wayne Kirkpatrick
Tommy Sims
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Change the World" * Eric Clapton [57]
1998 Shawn Colvin
John Leventhal
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Sunny Came Home" * Shawn Colvin [58]
1999 James Horner
Will Jennings
Flag of the United States.svg United States"My Heart Will Go On" * Celine Dion [59]
2000 Itaal Shur
Rob Thomas
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Smooth" * Santana featuring Rob Thomas [60]
2001 Adam Clayton
David Evans
Larry Mullen Jr.
Paul Hewson
Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland"Beautiful Day" * U2 [61]
2002 Alicia Keys Flag of the United States.svg United States"Fallin'" Alicia Keys
[62]
2003 Jesse Harris Flag of the United States.svg United States"Don't Know Why" * Norah Jones [63]
2004 Richard Marx
Luther Vandross
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Dance with My Father" Luther Vandross
[64]
2005 John Mayer Flag of the United States.svg United States"Daughters" John Mayer [65]
2006 Adam Clayton
David Evans
Larry Mullen Jr.
Paul Hewson
Flag of Ireland.svg Ireland"Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" U2 [66]
2007 Emily Robison
Martie Maguire
Natalie Maines
Dan Wilson
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Not Ready to Make Nice" * Dixie Chicks [67]
2008 Amy Winehouse Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"Rehab" * Amy Winehouse [68]
2009 Guy Berryman
Jonny Buckland
Will Champion
Chris Martin
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"Viva la Vida" Coldplay
[69]
2010 Thaddis Harrell
Beyoncé Knowles
Terius Nash
Christopher Stewart
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" Beyoncé [70]
2011 Dave Haywood
Josh Kear
Charles Kelley
Hillary Scott
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Need You Now" * Lady Antebellum [71]
2012 Adele Adkins
Paul Epworth
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"Rolling in the Deep" * Adele [72]
2013 Nate Ruess
Jack Antonoff
Jeff Bhasker
Andrew Dost
Flag of the United States.svg United States"We Are Young" Fun featuring Janelle Monáe [73]
2014 Joel Little
Ella Yelich-O'Connor
Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand"Royals" Lorde [74]
2015 James Napier
William Phillips
Sam Smith
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"Stay with Me" * Sam Smith [75]
2016 Ed Sheeran
Amy Wadge
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom"Thinking Out Loud" Ed Sheeran [76]
2017 Adele Adkins
Greg Kurstin
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Flag of the United States.svg United States
"Hello" * Adele
[77]
2018 Christopher Brody Brown
James Fauntleroy
Philip Lawrence
Bruno Mars
Ray Charles McCullough II
Jeremy Reeves
Ray Romulus
Jonathan Yip
Flag of the United States.svg United States"That's What I Like" Bruno Mars [78]
2019 Donald Glover
Ludwig Göransson
Jeffery Lamar Williams
Flag of the United States.svg United States
Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden
"This Is America" * Childish Gambino [79] [80]
2020 Billie Eilish O'Connell
Finneas O'Connell
Flag of the United States.svg United States"Bad Guy" * Billie Eilish
[81]
2021 D'Mile
H.E.R.
Tiara Thomas
Flag of the United States.svg United States"I Can't Breathe" H.E.R.
[82]

See also

Related Research Articles

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